In the deep winter of 1930, on a cold January day in the American midwest, Mrs. Nottingham was welcomed into this world by her parents and six siblings. It would turn out that Mrs. Nottingham was to be the next to last of the Nottingham clan.

Being the youngest of seven children proved to be a benefit. She became the queen of Washington Avenue. It was as if the world revolved around her, and her daddy made sure it never stopped!

To Mrs. Nottingham’s surprise, the role of “queen” was about to come to an end. The family gained another teammate and she became a big sister to a bouncing baby girl. It was fairly traumatic, but the two would grow up to be best friends.

Since there was a wide age difference between the last two girls and the other six siblings, Mrs. Nottingham and her little sister spent the better part of their growing years as the only two children at home. This was an interesting time with two “princesses” competing for the “queen’s” role.

Over the next 70-plus years, marriage, children and life continued for both sisters as they became wives and mothers. Mrs. Nottingham was fortunate to continue her role as the “queen” after marrying.

It is important to tell the rest of the story; a story of a woman who is a wife, mother, chief cook and bottle washer, taxi driver and cheerleader for three kids. We all have those special women in our lives who are strong and independent.

Mrs. Nottingham is a woman who grew up during the depression. She lived in a small house with lots of people and walked to school. She loved to read and socialize.

She watched WWII appear before her young eyes, got married early and sent a new husband off to Korea; welcomed a son at age 20; moved to Texas before she was 23. Like so many other women of this time, she was strong and independent.

During the past 12 years, she has been self sufficient. Her days are spent driving to and from places she enjoys. She has her bunko and 42 friends she sees each week. Her gambling trips have taken her to Las Vegas, Lake Charles and Mississippi. She has continued to be independent.

There are times when her independence has taken her to visit her sister and nieces in far away places. She packs a bag, loads the car and off she goes. She looks in the rear view mirror saying, “See you later, New Braunfels.”

Just recently her independent living and freedom suffered a setback. After feeling poorly, she visited her doctor and began taking some antibiotics. One issue leads to another and Mrs. Nottingham finds herself being questioned and attended to by her children. 

Their insistence resulted in a pair of ER visits and finally admission to the hospital. Not what she wanted, but what the doctor ordered.

Mrs. Nottingham was found to have several small things that had grown into a big thing. After seven days, she was released to a local nursing facility for rehabilitation. Twenty days proved just what the doctor ordered; regaining her strength was necessary.

The return home was glorious, but her confidence needed shoring up. The doctors and physical therapists ordered in-home care for 30 days. 

Mrs. Nottingham has been introduced to two fine new visitors who come see her twice a week.

I appreciated learning so much from Mrs. Nottingham’s experience. 

As adult children of a “Mrs. Nottingham,” my sister and I are now prepared for the stubborn and independent indicators. It is OK to be firm in our care for a parent. Tough love is not just for teens!

New Braunfels is a great place to raise a family. All families experience different needs as they grow together. My current experience is growing “old” together with my mom.

We are so fortunate to have the best care anywhere for our mature community. Thanks to Eden Hill, and all the other fine facilities that care enough to make a difference for all those Mrs. Nottinghams.  

Caring people, loving and sharing with those who are stubborn and don’t want to lose their independence. I think I hear Mrs. Nottingham packing her bag and loading the car!

• • • • •

After working in the Comal ISD school system for 16 years, Brockman continued to serve the community as vice president of economic development for the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce for 17 years before retiring in 2018. Currently, he works in community relations for CEMEX. Brockman’s column will be published weekly on Thursdays. He can be reached at rmbrockman75@gmail.com.

 

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